Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Creating A "Manly" Bathroom

As I discovered years ago when we bought our house, you are never done ... ever! There is painting, one repair or another, planting, weeding, mowing ... some kind of improvement to your home. It hasn't been any different with my, in comparison, small condo.
     As I have related here, the condo needed a lot of work to make it livable, at least for me. We gutted and rebuilt the kitchen, every room was painted from a bilious green in the dining room to asylum green and an even worse gold in the bedrooms ... you get the picture.
The bathroom as I originally saw it. Cleaned up it was good enough 

... for now! See the off balance, dark to the left and pure white to the right.
     As a movie freak growing up, I have always remembered a Doris Day, Rock Hudson movie called "Pillow Talk." Some of you may remember it. Its a story of a womanizer played by Hudson  (an
irony, no?) who shares a party line with Day who is a decorator. Those of you who remember party lines, hands up! Anyway, every time Day tries to use her phone her party line partner is busily wooing one woman or another. She tries everything to get rid of him to no avail. Well, they meet through a mutual friend where he charms her until she finds out he is her party line partner. To ingratiate himself he hires her to re-decorate his apartment. For some reason his apartment always struck me as the way a man should live. Dark woods, dark walls, black leather furniture with chrome accents ... very masculine. Of course it had some other "wooing" features with buttons that turned the couch into a bed, "mood" lighting, soft music and champagne on ice.
Well, I had the dark wood only
it was only on one side of the bath!
     The shocking and I guess funny part is what she did to it. She turned it into a Middle Eastern bordello that was hysterical in just about every way. I vaguely remember the transformation but never forgot the original.
     After I got over the original girlie colors I had chosen for my condo, I picked a palette of two greys and a wine red with all trim pure white. I wanted the contrast of white trim with distinctly contrasting walls. A sense of drama. Only the living room is a light grey, an attempt to make it appear larger. The bathrooms were ignored other than scrubbing very dirty walls white again. I never liked them but there were other more pressing matters, I had literally two months to remodel, paint and move. It was nip and tuck, believe me.
Glidden's Stewart House Brown
did the trick!
     However, I have never given up on the bathrooms and finally hit upon painting them, small as they are, a dark color. I disliked that one side was dark ... floor to ceiling dark wood with a granite sink and boring and solid white on the other sides. It felt like the room was tipping to the side. Definitely not Feng shui! The problem was that I really didn't want to introduce another color into the palette, and didn't want red in another room nor a darker variation of red in say a maroon. Grey's really didn't go with the wood cabinets so ... what to do? 

     One day in Walmart, I noticed they had a paint department. I looked at their Glidden paint chips and found a brown with a heavy charcoal tint, in fact it offered three variations. I brought it home, taped it on the bedroom wall for awhile, then put it in the bathroom on the wood trying to decide which of the three I liked. Finally deciding I went back to Walmart not once but three times and could never get any service in the paint department. This Monday when it was closed for yet another time I walked out, drove across the street to Home Depot and found that they too carried Glidden. I bought a gallon and figured both bathrooms could go dark!
Not the finish nor the color I was expecting!
     I really wanted a flat finish but the lady mixing the paint, startled that I would use such a dark color for a bath, said I needed to use a satin finish. Well ... okay. I really wanted flat but I guessed she knew best. However, when I started to paint the bathroom over shiny white walls I began to question her judgement. The paint went on and looked like a milk chocolate stain that from the bedroom looked like the inside of a Hersey's bar. I plowed on and since this is the desert with about 10% humidity, the wall I started on was already dry. The second coat added the depth and dark color I wanted from the beginning.
     All in all it didn't take all that long to paint and I let it dry as I took a nap. At 71 you never pass up an opportunity!
Almost finished and its exactly
what I wanted!
     When I woke up I noticed that without the lights on, it appeared to be a dark charcoal and since the walls in the bedroom were a dark grey the effect was perfect. I think though, that what spurred me on was the new, much quieter bathroom fan with an LED light and moisture sensor. It was a Delta fixture that made sitting on the pot feeling like an interrogation room! "What are you doing there? Where were you the night of the 15th?" 
     Now painted, it calmed that light down and felt, well, like a very masculine place to sit!
     The other thing I noticed last night as I looked into the bathroom, in the dark of night, as I headed for one of several potty stops was that everything was easier to see. The lighter or white towels, the towel racks, the sink and even the toilet were easy to see in the glow of the LED nightlight. So, there really was a bonus to making the walls dark.
   Oddly, using such dark paint doesn't make it feel so cramped. The shower over the tub with white tile up the three walls and on the ceiling over the tub, the doors for towels and the water heater on the back left are white and I left the area around the lights white so it doesn't feel so dark. The best thing, at least to me is that the room finally feels balanced. There is dark on the left and the right. 
     Would I do it again? You bet. The color is a nice contract to the grey bedroom and goes well with the cabinets and counter that I inherited. Once I decide what to do with the guest bathroom, that has the same style of cabinets and counter but a yucky fiberglass shower, it too will go dark!
     I love color and the use of contrasts for a sense of drama. I notice that what I have been doing and using is now all the rage in the decorator magazines. I guess I may just be a trendsetter!

The completed bath!
Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to take the time to read earlier blogs where the emphasis here is to explore the ways art and design affects our daily lives ... and always has. I share with you what inspires me with the hope that it will inspire you as well. Comments are always welcomed! Be sure to check my re-opened ETSY store ...

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